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Study: Soot might stimulate Arctic melt
Thu, 21 Apr 2011 10:55:59 GMT
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Soot might speed up the Arctic melt.
Scientists say the main reason behind the rapid warming in the Arctic region might be the existence of a thin layer of soot which absorbs more heat in the region.

A research study by an international team shows that an invisible thin layer of soot, or black carbon, could stimulate the Arctic meltdown and eventually affect global climate in a long run, the Associated Press reported.

"The Arctic serves as the air conditioner of the planet," said Patricia Quinn from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Quinn added that heat from across the world moves towards the Arctic through air and water and at least some of that can radiate into space.

This is while the ice and snow reflect the sun's incoming heat to other parts of the Earth, making the poles cooling systems for the planet.

Meanwhile, authors of the study believe the Arctic warming would implicate the entire planet and that cutting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would effectively resolve the issue.

However, studies say that reducing the amount of short-lived pollutants, like soot, would be faster since greenhouse gases live much longer in the atmosphere.

Over the past 100 years, the Arctic surface air temperature has increased twice as fast as the global average.

According to Quinn, the annual median surface air temperatures have climbed from two to three degrees Celsius (3.6 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) since 50 years ago, while the global average increased nearly 0.7 degree Celsius (1.3 degree Fahrenheit) in the same period.

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